These are by no means rankings of the top MLL players of the 2020 season/tournament/whatever you want to call it. Instead, this article serves a small celebration of the guys who got me excited to dial into the action day after day for the eight day extravaganza.
There were a lot of positives about the on-field display the MLL put togehter last week and for the most part, the games were extremely captaivating. MLL players from parts unkonwn made names for themselves while other, more established, talent gave us more reason to never forget their names.
Dive with me through what I consider the list of MLL players who did the most eyebrow raising in 2020.
MLL Players Who Impressed by Position
Lyle Thompson: Chesapeake Bayhawks
Lyle gave us some dazzling highlights and beautiful lacrosse plays all tournament. He was as advertised to say the least, definitely #lyledin! My favorite was the back-to-back dunks from X where, you know and just to spice it up, he went first with his right and then one-handed lefty.
There’s not time to get me started on watching him shoot. Every singlw time he shot I let out an audible “yesssss.”
Any time you get the chance to see Lyle play it really is a blessing.
Bryce Wasserman: Boston Cannons
The MVP of the tournament was nearly un-guardable from X. His ability to go both ways and shoot while running full speed was instrumental in leading Boston to the championship. I really loved hearing the story about his past failures in the sport and how that has fueled him to become the player he is today.
That’s legend material.
Randy made several highlight reel plays during this tournament and showed his ability to make those moves while being absolutely assaulted at times by the opposing defense. The dude is tough, skilled and competitive.
Chris Aslanian: Denver Outlaws
The former Hobart Statesmen who used to bury goals on “THE BOZ” now fits into fit any need the Outlaws has. Aslanian scored huge goals in the Championship Game to keep the Outlaws hanging in the contest. He has a wicked overhand shot and plays the game with a HIGH motor.
Dan Bucaro: Denver Outlaws
The rookie was the best dodger in the tournament after Wasserman. I really think he may have been the best dodger, but Denver didn’t use him from X as much in the later games. I wish they would have given him the ball more in the Championship Game as he started off hot with a hat-trick in the early minutes and then didn’t seem to get the ball as much down the stretch.
All lacrosse fans should looking forward to watching this guy play In the future!
Ryan Lee: Denver Outlaws
Lee is a #SCTOP10 play waiting to happen any and every time he’s on the field. I joked multiple times on Twitter how every game he scores a career’s worth of highlight reel goals. His ability to score from any different spot on the field sets him apart from the competition. Once average goal from Lee would be the pinnacle of most of our careers.
Bubba Voigt: Connecticut Hammerheads
Bubba plays with great energy and poise. He always knows how to get open, his 53 percent on shooting 73 percent on-target, gives him a chance to go off any time he’s on the field.
Cockerton will absolutely make you pay if you leave him open for a second. The UVA grad might have the prettiest shot in the league right now and plays with real Canadian toughness.
Connor O’Hara: New York Lizards
O’Hara doesn’t need much room to make your defense pay. He got better every game and is one of the slickest American finishers in the game right now. His old man won’t be letting him slip from the Lizards lineup.
Andrew Kew: Chesapeake Bayhawks
Kew is as dangerous as it gets shooting the ball with a blistering 59 percent shooting average for the tournament. Kew and Lyle were a dynamic attack to watch before their week prematurely ended.
Will Sands: Connecticut Hammerheads
Sands got better every game of the tournament, much like the whole Hammerheads team. He ended the tournament with a pretty impressive 11 assists. That’s double digit apples for all you math wizzes at home. What a good teammate. Look for Sands to improve next year!
Brendan Sunday: Philadelphia Barrage
Sunday was Philly’s best player I thought, in every game. The 6’4 Towson grad has an absolute cannon of an outside shot and has soft hands on the inside finishes as well. Look for this guy to keep developing
Dylan Molloy: New York Lizards
Molloy was one of a handful of guys who could actually beat a long pole in this tournament. The physicality he dodges with is scary at times and he was really the only guy commanding a double-team as soon as he started his dodge.
Nate Solomon: Chesapeake Bayhawks
Solomon was a very effective third scorer for the Bayhawks, finding multiple ways to chip in and really shot the ball well this tournament.
…or guys who run out of the box and play middie.
Jon Uppgren: Boston Cannons
If you score five goals in the MLL championship Game, I think you reach legend status.
Who is this guy? This is just one of the many reasons I love pro lacrosse. Athletes get a chance to REALLY show how good they are and a “nobody” from Tufts, Uppgren took full advantage.
Ben Martin: Connecticut Hammerheads
Listed as an attackman, the Dartmouth grad was a force downhill dodging and getting to the net for the Hammerheads, nabbing five goals in his last outing. I’m still sad we didn’t get to see the Hammerheads in the playoffs, they were coming together at the perfect time.
Riley O’Connor: Boston Cannons
The former Hill Academy star-turned-coach finally got his chance to play in the MLL and didn’t disappoint. O’Connor is a very strong off-ball player, but showed some good dodging as well in this tournament. Captain clutch put in a game-winner and kept growing more confident every time on the field.
Ryan Keenan: Chesapeake Bayhawks
The former PSU product was an effective speed dodger all tournament. He would come out of the box and provide the Bayhawks with instant offense or dodge hard enough to garner attention from the defense to open up the ‘Hawks attack.
Kyle Jackson: Boston Cannons
KJ was extremely active on both ends of the field for the champion Cannons. He drew the long pole often on offense, but kept the ball moving and provided tough plays between the lines for the champs. A tough guy for tough moments.
Nicky Gallaso: New York Lizards
The wily vet put together a really good tournament being both a dodger and a playmaking threat for the Lizards.
Short Stick Defensive Middies
The heart and soul of any team!
Zach Goodrich & Tim Edwards: Boston Cannons
I really liked these two guys all tournament. They were extremely aggressive on the ball, didn’t give up too much off-ball, were great on ground balls and massive in the transition game. You need stud D-mids to win a championship and these two we’re a huge reason why Boston pulled of the upset.
Brian Begley, Charlie Hayes & Pat Aslanian: Denver Outlaws
The Outlaws have always been an organization that values the SSDM position. No wonder they win every year, right? These three impressed me all week, every game. They not only played very good one-on-one defense, but these guys were also causing turnovers and making big plays in transition for their team.
Michael Brown: Connecticut Hammerheads
What can Brown do for you? Play some tough defense and clear the ball, that’s what. Brown impressed all week!
Isiah Davis-Allen: Chesapeake Bayhawks
IDA is always on-game. He provided tough one-on-one defense every matchup and even had a two-pointer in transition early in the week.
Matt Whitcher: Philadelphia Barrage
Whitcher played fast and physical defense all week for the Barrage, who seemed to always play best when it was really hot out. Hot Whitcher was no exception.
Stephen Romano: New York Lizards
Romano was impressive with his cover skills and he also had the ability to find the back of the net once, every D-mid’s dream come true.
Greg Weyl: Connecticut Hammerheads
The Pittsford, NY, product was a steady presence all over the field for the ‘Phins during this week.
Ben Randall: New York Lizards
The rangy cover-man from THE Ohio State University put together a really tournament, finishing with 10 caused turnovers and a whopping 21 ground balls. Those are some Brodie Merrill numbers and the Lizards went 0-4 around him.
Tom Rigney: Denver Outlaws
Rigney was a tough go for any attackman this week and put up strong numbers with seven caused turnovers and seven ground balls to his credit.
Kyle Pless: Denver Outlaws
Leading the Outlaws with nine cause turnovers and 14 ground balls, Pless was all over the field this week.
Liam Byrnes: Philadelphia Barrage
The 2019 Defensive Player of the Year picked up where he left off last year, straight-up scaring teams away from his goal. Byrnes was impressive all tournament.
Warren Jeffrey: Chesapeake Bayhawks
Warren lead the Bayhawks defense with eight caused turnovers and was an extremely physical presence down low to deter top attackmen from dodging.
Leo Stouros: Chesapeake Bayhawks
The lefty from The Hill Academy was really good with his one-on-one footwork and if the ball is on the carpet near Leo he absolutely will pick it up.
Justin Pugal: Boston Cannons
Locked down one of the greatest ever in the MLL Championship Game, he was fantastic at not falling for some of John Grant Jr.’s moves and even landed a two-point missile from beyond the arc.
Mike Skudin: Boston Cannons
A force to be reckoned with, Skudin held lethal Outlaws scorer Ryan Lee in check in the Championship Game registering one of the best in the business ineffective.
Nick Marrocco: Boston Cannons
Marrocco was solid through group play, but he stole the show in the MLL Championship Game. If he doesn’t come up with some crazy kick saves against the legend John Grant Jr. we’re all talking about Junior the hero again. I might hold that against Nick, but he was magnificent in this tournament. Who has any right to stop the G.O.A.T.?
Sean Sconone: Connecticut Hammerheads
Sconone has been my favorite goalie to watch professionally since I first saw him play with the Dallas Rattlers last season. His stance, angles, and quickness are all top notch and he never seems to get rattled.
Hot take, I think Sconone is the best goalie in the world right now. Argue me.